Twickenham loss gives Scotland motivation against Italy - Cotter

Vern Cotter oversees Scotland training
Cotter (right) is preparing for his last Test as Scotland head coach
2017 RBS Six Nations: Scotland v Italy
Venue: BT Murrayfield Date: Saturday, 18 March Kick-off: 12:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One Scotland, BBC Radio Scotland 810MW & BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra, plus live text commentary via the BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app

Vern Cotter has called on his players to use the nightmare of Twickenham as a motivational force in Scotland's final game of the Six Nations.

Cotter's men face Italy on Saturday after losing 61-21 to England.

It will also be the New Zealander's last match in charge after taking over in the summer of 2014.

But he has discouraged his team from talking too much about his departure. "They're not allowed to," the 55-year-old said.

"They've plenty of other things to think about, like playing for themselves and for the people who support them.

"We'd like to see them put in a great performance against Italy that they can be proud of.

"You can turn frustration from Twickenham into a positive, that's the key thing. Nobody was happy with that and this is an opportunity. Let's see what we can do."

Scotland could yet finish second in the Six Nations table, which would be a first since the championship was expanded in 2000 to include Italy. They would need a bonus-point victory at Murrayfield and also England to beat Ireland and Wales to beat France in Paris without a bonus point.

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Cotter sees 'positive' change in Scots

Despite the trauma of last Saturday, Scotland are also just two tries away from a record try haul in the Six Nations and five points away from a record points tally. This time three years ago - after the last Six Nations before Cotter's arrival - Scotland had a world ranking of 10th. Currently, they are fifth in the world.

Cotter declined the chance to talk about his reign, saying that it was not yet time. He will wait until after Saturday's game for the grand overview of his time in charge. For now, the focus is purely on beating Italy, a team he describes as "improving" and "innovative".

Italy held half-time leads in their games against Wales and England and only trailed France by five points at the break, but they have lost all four games so far by an average of 30 points.

For them, the real damage has been done in the second half of all these matches. They have conceded 70% of their total points in the second half - that figure has risen from 62% last season - and have conceded an average of 20 points - up from 16 points last season - in the last 20 minutes of the second half.

"We know that you can't get a result in five minutes," said Cotter. "So, we'll have to roll our sleeves up and work hard through the whole 80 minutes if we want that win."

Six Nations table

Cotter paid tribute to the medical and strength and conditioning staff for getting all the walking wounded fit again after the debacle at Twickenham.

There were injury doubts, of varying degrees, over six players but all six have made it. The only change in the starting line-up is tactical - Ross Ford coming in for Fraser Brown at hooker. Matt Scott takes over from the injured Mark Bennett on the bench.

The Kiwi says he will be involved in club rugby and coach development for the remaining months of contract before heading off to a new life as coach of Montpellier. "I'll just to try to make myself useful," he added.

It was also announced that Cotter will coach the Barbarians for two games against, England at Twickenham on 28 May and against Ulster in Belfast on 1 June. That's exhibition stuff. Saturday will a different animal entirely.